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South African telecoms giant Telkom had in the year to end of March this year, procured R130-million in services from 40 black-owned technician businesses employing 364 people last year, said Telkom Futuremakers head Litha Kutta.
In an email last week to Ventureburn, Kutta (pictured above) added that the telecoms company also helped build four black-owned Telkom Express stores, set up 11 black-owned dealers and supported 24 internet cafes,
He said the aim is to set up black-owned sales and distribution partners to enable the telecoms company to diversify its revenue channels, penetrate the informal market, and enhance product access and brand visibility in areas where it has low representation.
While the FutureMakers programme offers free peer-to-peer training in coding skills through WeThinkCode, Telkom also supports business incubation services through Bandwidth Barn in Cape Town, Tshimologong in Johannesburg and Propella in Port Elizabeth.
Telkom’s aim is to set up black-owned sales and distribution partners to enable the telecoms company to diversify its revenue channels, penetrate the informal market
“The hubs support over 1 000 technical entrepreneurs through virtual and physical incubation, business development support, hot desks, technology events, connectivity and market access,” Kutta pointed out.
He said to qualify for support from the programme businesses should be at least 51% black-owned and be either an exempt micro enterprise with turnover of less than R10-million a year, or be a qualifying small enterprise with turnover of less than R50-million a year.
Connecting startups, partners
In September Telkom company BCX launched SpliceWorks, an online business enablement platform designed to connect SA tech entrepreneurs with the business partners that will transform industry.
“SpliceWorks is a great tool to connect your innovative idea with an ecosystem of businesses that are part of the Telkom network that can give your product or service the support it needs to move forward and scale,” said Kutta.
He said to become part of the SpliceWorks ecosystem, startups should begin by accessing the online platform and completing a personal, business and solution profile.
“This will determine where your business fits into the five-stage certification process. As businesses progress through each stage, they unlock complimentary valuable business development assistance and expertise through our network partners.”
Selling to Telkom
Kutta said when it came to selling goods or services to Telkom, suppliers are selected following a closed tender or bid process, allowing appropriate suppliers to compete in a fair, equitable and consistent way. Telkom employees may not have an interest in any supplier.
He referred entrepreneurs and business owners to Telkom’s procurement page: http://www.telkom.co.za/about_us/index.shtml#procurement
Businesses must register as a supplier here: https://esourcing.telkom.co.za/sourcing/fsguest/vendordesktop/register before submitting a bid, he added.
“If the company works with SpliceWorks, the company must earn SpliceWorks certification to be connected to a network of partners, including many from within the Telkom Group, he said.
Kutta said in general startups can improve their chances of winning business from a corporate if they have a company website and an email address that reflect the company name, rather than a free email address, help to present a professional image. It’s also important to have all registration and certification in order.”
“Sometimes we see that companies have not researched potential clients or customers. Take the time to understand what people’s needs are and how your product can meet them,” he added.
*Disclosure: Telkom FutureMakers is a sponsor of the 2017 Ventureburn Tech Startup Survey powered by Telkom Futuremakers.
Featured image: Telkom Futuremakers head Litha Kutta (Supplied)